Follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (fshr) and luteinizing hormone/choriogonadotropin receptor (lhcgr) exhibit differential temporal expression patterns during zebrafish folliculogenesis with fshr being dominant during vitellogenic growth and lhcgr increasing its expression dramatically before maturation. The dynamic and distinct expression patterns of fshr and lhcgr suggest that they are under tight regulatory control. However, the underlying mechanisms for the differential expression of the two receptors remain unknown. We have recently demonstrated that members of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family are largely expressed in the oocyte, while their receptors are exclusively localized on the follicle cells, suggesting a potential paracrine signaling from the oocyte to the follicle cells by BMPs. In this study, we investigated the effects of zebrafish BMP2b (zfBmp2b) and BMP4 (zfBmp4) on the expression of fshr and lhcgr using a novel co-culture approach. The recombinant zfBmp2b or zfBmp4-producing CHO cells were co-cultured with the zebrafish follicle cells followed by real-time qPCR analysis of fshr and lhcgr expression. Our results showed that zfBmp2b and zfBmp4 both down-regulated fshr, while up-regulated lhcgr expression at 24. h of co-culturing. This finding, together with the high expression level of BMP receptors in the follicle cells prior to oocyte maturation, strongly suggests a potential role for BMPs in the differential expression of fshr and lhcgr, especially in the full-grown follicles before maturation. As BMPs are largely expressed in the oocyte, this also implies an important role for the oocyte in orchestrating the differentiation and function of the follicle cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology